Orgasms are anything but simple. They require a complex dance of physical stimulation and reaction. When every link in the chain does its job, you experience a satisfying torrent of sensation. But, as our bodies age, the chances that one of those steps will be skipped increases, making an already elusive goal of achieving orgasm that much harder. And that’s if you even get that far — battling a diminished libido is often an additional, if not primary, challenge.
And there’s nothing to be ashamed about: 40 percent of women will experience a decline in libido. Well before women hit menopause, their bodies begin to make changes that affect hormone levels. The ovaries, which are the source of 50 percent of our testosterone, become less active, decreasing the production of the sex hormone that is key to our libido. As estrogen decreases, so does testosterone. It’s this decline in testosterone that’s really responsible for a reduced sex drive.
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However, there is some good news. The path to greater sexual satisfaction could begin with what you eat, resulting in the right balance of hormones and conditions that’ll get you closer to your goal of sexual satisfaction and improved intimacy.
All-Natural Libido Boosters
Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, the ultimate sex mineral. Studies show that women with a greater sex drive have higher levels of testosterone. To increase your testosterone, add zinc to your diet. Zinc blocks the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen. A quarter-cup serving of pumpkin seeds may do the trick.
For increased arousal, try watermelon. The compounds present in watermelon may have a “Viagra-like” effect, relaxing blood vessels and increasing blood flow. Proper blood flow allows the tissues to become engorged, aroused and lubricated.
L-arginine, an amino acid available in supplement form, may dilate clitoral blood vessels, increasing flow to erogenous zones and helping to improve arousal.
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To beat the blues and hold on to a good mood, which is essential to wanting to make love in the first place, try rhodiola, a plant-derived supplement. Rhodiola may help block the breakdown of the feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin. Increasing dopamine can boost female sexual pleasure. Diluting 20-30 drops in a glass of water is the recommended dosage for both men and women.
As cliché as it sounds, there’s a reason chocolate-covered strawberries are one of Cupid’s favorite weapons. Dark chocolate (make sure it’s 70 percent cocoa) helps to increase dopamine levels, the brain’s “pleasure chemical”; the bioflavonoids in dark chocolate also open up blood vessels and improve blood flow. The sugar in the strawberries gives you a little boost of energy. Combined, you may find yourself feeling a little more inspired than usual.
To increase sex drive, add some fish to your diet. Halibut can raise testosterone levels because it’s high in magnesium. Magnesium makes it more difficult for testosterone to latch onto proteins in the body. As a result, testosterone is distributed in the blood, helping to kick up your sex drive.
Asparagus is considered one of the best libido-boosting foods since it’s rich in folate. A naturally occurring form of folic acid, folate regulates the production of histamine – the chemical that is released during an orgasm.
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Garlic contains allicin, a compound that thins the blood. Because of this, it improves the blood circulation necessary for an erection by relaxing the arteries. Having strong circulation also allows for greater physical endurance in the bedroom.
In addition to containing potassium and B vitamins that elevate energy levels, bananas contain the natural anti-inflammatory enzyme bromelain, which aids in triggering greater production of testosterone.
To heighten sexual attraction, add celery to your salad. It contains androsterone, a pheromone precursor. Pheromones are odorless chemical signals released through sweat glands; once “smelled,” pheromones can subconsciously affect the behavior of the receiving mate.
Walnuts, an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, are known to boost dopamine and arginine levels in the brain, which increases the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is the essential chemical compound for erections; it dilates the blood vessels, allowing blood to travel freely.
The antioxidant superfood, beets are also nitrate-rich. These nitrates improve blood flow throughout the body.
Another pleasure-boosting food is peanut butter. Rich in monounsaturated fats, this spread can heighten female sexual arousal. Pair your peanut butter with some dark chocolate. The cocoa contains bioflavonoids, powerful antioxidants that unclog blood vessels for better flow. These plant compounds can also help prevent a decline in estrogen, which plays a role in decreased libido. The cocoa also increases the presence of dopamine, one of the brain’s feel-good chemicals.
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Beef is high in the ultimate sex mineral: zinc. Zinc blocks the enzyme aromatase from converting testosterone to estrogen. A deficiency of zinc can result in a low sperm count and a weak sex drive.
For tea drinkers, ginseng tea contains the compound ginsenoside; this compounds impacts the gonadal tissue responsible for sperm production. It increases sperm count while heightening sexual satisfaction and can also work to prevent or reduce erectile dysfunction.
Add some spice to your sex life by sprinkling some nutmeg in your coffee or cereal. This spice can imitate the effects of serotonin – its scent allows for relaxation and its taste can elevate mood. Lack of sleep can also be a culprit responsible for low sex drive. Nutmeg can help your sleep cycle as well, as it is rich in the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan.
Ginger, a powerful and multipurpose herb, dilates your blood vessels. Without the free passage of blood cells to the sex organs, sexual sensation decreases.
When taken in small doses (no more than 25 milligrams), DHEA, a hormone produced naturally in the body, can readjust and stabilize hormone levels, and treat erectile dysfunction. It is recommended that DHEA be administered while under the supervision of a physician or licensed health professional.